3 things you need to know about Chinese New year
Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important event in China. It is like a mix between Christmas and New Year for Western people. But as you know, Asian culture is quite different from European and American’s ones, and here are 3 basic things you should know about the Chinese New year.
1 – The largest annual migration in human history, again every year
For the Chinese New Year, a great part of Chinese population travels back to their hometown for one week or more, in order to be reunited with their relatives. Every year, the record for the largest human migration of history is beaten, and almost 2.91 billion journeys are expected for this 2016 Spring Festival.
Since many among Chinese people living and working in urban areas are from rural areas or simply from other Chinese towns, they come back home during their annual holiday for Spring Festival.
During this holiday, most of popular stores, shops and restaurants in big cities like Shanghai or Beijing…are closed. And streets are almost empty, except for seaside towns that are crowded most of the time.
2 – Chinese New Year Food: good luck and best wishes.
As Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival in China, Chinese people will cook and eat special food for their symbolic meanings: some food symbolizes happiness, good luck and best wishes for the coming year. A “lucky food” is served during 16 days and especially at the New Year:
- Cabbage and radish dumplings, which mean wealth, a fair skin and gentle mood. Beware of sauerkraut dumplings since they symbolize a poor and difficult future
- Niangao, the “Year Cake” which symbolizes an increase in prosperity. It is a glutinous rice cake, sign of a very bright future in business or studies
There are as well other symbolic types of food such as fish, longevity noodles, fortune fruits…
So many delicious dishes with beautiful meanings for most of them. So pay great attention to what you choose to eat for Spring Festival!
3 – Red Envelopes = 红包 hónɡ bāo = Lucky Money
Red envelopes represent the most traditional of Chinese New Year presents.
Parents usually offer money in red envelopes to their children after the family dinner, when midnight approaches. In fact, single people will always receive red envelopes from their parents or parents’ friends until they get married. At that time, they will have to offer red envelopes to younger ones, but can hope to earn back as much as they invested as soon as they will have their first child, who will receive as well loads of “hong bao” from relatives. Red in China is the color of luck, and these red envelopes are supposed to bring good luck for the coming year.
Furthermore, we can now see some social media using this tradition as a digital marketing tool, just like WeChat did. The Chinese giant developed few years ago an online system where users can offer red envelops to their friends, relatives or colleagues. And in order to promote it, they offered loads of digital red envelopes to their users.